Wednesday, October 18, 2006

Feeling the Qur'an

Masha'Allah this really struck me; I have selected parts of the article to post here and have highlighted other parts. Insha'Allah it is of benefit to all.

It is taken from an adaptation of a translation of a part of a book entitled "Key to the Supreme Name, and the Way of Arrival to Allah," or Miftah al-Ism al-A'dham, wa Tariq al-wusool ila-Allaah, by the Imam Shaykh Ibrahim Muhammad al-Battawi of Egypt (Allah be pleased with him).

When the Shaykh says to read the Quran, he is emphasizing that we not only enunciate sounds which are represented by characters written in ink on paper, but rather come to read the revelation of Allah, which is at the same time within you and around you. It is vital to understand that the revelation of the Quran came as sound, which we echo with our recital, and not as a written text. The written text itself is not the Revelation. We should read the Quran with our entire beings, not only with our tongues, until we come to have the Quranic character until the Quran reads us and fashions our character. We should not read the Quran as we read a newspaper, and the Prophet, blessings and peace be upon him, told us that there will be people who will read the Quran, but it will not pass! beyond their throats to their hearts, these people the Quran will curse. The first command Allah gave us was to recite, in His Name (not in our name) Who created us, and Who teaches us what we do not know. If Allah is not teaching you knowledge from His Presence which you do not know while you are reading the Quran, then you are in fact not reciting the Quran, but only enunciating Arabic letters)

And be steadfast in keeping the company of those who call on their Lord in mornings and evenings, who seek after His Face, and do not turn your eyes away from them seeking the pleasures and ornaments of this world. And do not obey those whose hearts We have made heedless of Our remembrance, who follow only their desires, and whose (life) is in disharmony and chaos. (Q18:28). In such a manner should you strive until Allah opens your heart to His realities, according to the level of your yearning (himma) for Him.

A Summary of the method of obtaining the experience of Laylatul-Qadr. The Way to that end is comprised in certain steps, which we will now summarize in what follows:

1. Recite the entire Quran over a certain period of time in two recitations. The first (mode of recitation) is for (the intention of) memorization and worship, and it can be either silent or aloud, according to your time and ability. The second mode is specifically for devotion and the training of the spirit and intellect in concentration in reflection upon its meanings. In this mode, your tongue does not move and your heart should not be busy except with what is recited and with Allah, Who is the Speaker, and Who encompasses you on all sides and directions (without His being in any direction). Be influenced by what you recite. We call this method of recitation active and involved recitation. Compose a small booklet or diary of the meanings that you arrive at through this reading, and keep it beside your Quran at all times. It is also recommended that there be in the margins of the Mushaf the explanation of difficult words, such as in the Tafsir of Jalalayn and Tabari and others. This, together with some hadiths which have come in relation to those ayat. Also, it is recommended that this recitation be in the night time, and also in Fajr time.

2. Act upon and according to the meanings which you have previously arrived at in your readings. Allah sent down the best of words, a book filled with allegories, doubly-repeated (mathaani), which causes the skins of those who fear their Lord to shiver, then their skins and hearts are softened to the conscious invocation of Allah (Q39:23). It becomes softened through acting upon what you read.

3. Let this recitation and action be throughout the whole year, and not only in Ramadan.

4. Make for yourself at least one night from every week for the rest of your life in which you isolate yourself with your Lord at certain times, for example 7:00 in the evening. Recite certain ayat of Quran like Fatiha, Ayat Kursi, the last ayat of Baqara, and any other ayat which you memorized from the Quran. Then recite and repeat the 99 Names of Allah, which were recorded in the books of hadith. And do not allow your himma (aspiration) to be to finish with them as soon as possible, but rather let your whole aspiration and zeal be for the Gift that Allah gives to those who perfect the recitation. Just as your himma should not be to finish the Salat as soon as possible, but rather all your himma should be to perfect it until Allah accepts it and accepts your du'aa in it. For that reason, every Name you recite should be accompanied with gathered concentration and the live awareness that Allah surrounds and encompasses you from all sides. In other words, you connect between the All-Encompassing Supreme Name and the Name that you recite. And the same situation should be in the Salat. You perceive that your spirit is before His Hands and that He encompasses (Muheet) you and the universe from all sides and directions.

5. Do not be overly occupied with the articulation of the Name or their written letters, but rather be occupied with their meanings that surround you.

6. This seclusion should not be less than an hour. Do it by yourself or with your family or friends, but with the condition that you do not preoccupy each other. Be firmly convinced that Allah will accept your repentance, and that He will heal your sicknesses and pains, and ease your affair and settle your need, and answer your call in this seclusion and in the Salat.

7. Do not let your attention waver in the Salat, and make du'aa in your prostration, and pray the Prayer of Need (haja) every night, especially before Fajr (during suhoor).

8. Increase your affection on the orphans. No connection can be formed between a slave and his Lord, and it can never be sound, if he neglects them. In fact, Allah considered the one who neglects their support (the orphans and the needy) and those who do not call others to help them, Allah considered him as rejecting the Deen of Islam, among whose marks is the aid of the orphans and love for them. And He considered their prayers as being for ostentation (riya), no matter how hidden or open he is in their performance.

9. Know very well that the Zakat is obligatory on your incoming salary, so pay it when you get it. And those who, in their wealth, there is a set portion and known right for the beggar and those prevented from asking (Q70:24-25), and give its due right on the day of its harvest (Q6:141), and O you who believe, spend out of the good things We have provided you that you have acquired, and from what We took out from the earth for you (Q2:267)."

10. Do not despise any inanimate thing or any animal, so that you will not be satisfied with despising any human.

11. Read the Quran on wudu, and work in wudu, and sleep upon wudu after you pray two raka'as with the intention that Allah unveil for you that in which lies your good and benefit. Make the reason for your sleep and movements and stillnesses to please Allah and attain His reward.

12. When you see an ayat in your sleep (from the Quran), then act upon it and repeat it often, especially if the Prophet (salla allahu alayhi wa sallam) himself pointed you to it or gave it to you. And know that it could be a certain Name from among the Names of Allah. The same applies if one of the Saliheen recited it upon you, or it was repeated in your sleep, or you woke up repeating it out of inspiration (automatically).

13. Those who have already arrived can be of help to you. The companionship of him who has already arrived for 40 days is better for you than 40 years of continuous solitary worship. Because of that (companionship), difficulties will be made easy and under your control, and far things will come nearer. Even though, however, the Perfect Shaykh is rarely to be found in this time of ours, a group of the first generations, and a few of the later generations (these are those brought near) Q56:13-14.

14. You can also find help in Surat Ya-Siin, reciting it often with the intention that Allah illuminates your way (to Him). The Messenger (salla allahu alayhi wa sallam) said: for everything there is a heart, and the heart of the Quran is Ya-Siin. Whoever reads it, Allah records for him as if he read the entire Quran 10 times without Ya-Siin, (narrated by Tirmidhi). And he said: the heart of the Qur'an is Ya-Siin. No one reads it who desires Allah and the Final Abode except that He forgives him. Read it upon your dead, (recorded by Ibn Majah, Nisa'i, Abu Dawud, and Ibn Hibban).

15. Have a positive attitude and strength in all your affairs, and enjoin the good and forbid the wrong. For if you were at the highest level of piety but left enjoining or forbidding, then that neglect will veil you from your Laylatul-Qadr, in accordance with the words of the Messenger (salla allahu alayhi wa sallam) about the one who left Jihad with the tongue and heart: there is no imaan after that, even the size of a mustard seed."

16. For every human there is his Laylat ul-Qadr, which could be at different occasions in one month or one year. (very important understanding).

17. Establish the nights of the special occasions and the Islamic holidays in the above-mentioned manner, with a seclusion (khalwat) the majority of the night, and sleep for 2 or 3 hours, and continue with the rest of the night. We have found much good in the Night of the Ascension (Rajab 27) and the Middle of Sha'aban (Sha'aban 15), and the first night of Ramadan, which is the night of the sighting of the crescent, and all of the nights of Ramadan are immense opportunities. For actions on these nights are increased. Maybe the Possessor of the Ascension (salla allahu alayhi wa sallam) might surprise you in them, and he would recharge your spiritual battery so that you arrive. Every Ramadan the angels of inspiration (ilham) and attainment (wusul) increase their descent to the earth. Other special nights include the first nine nights of Shawwal (which include the six white days), and the night of Arafat, and the night of the two Eids, and the night of 'Ashura (Muharram 10), and the first night of the lunar year, and the night of the Mawlid of Muhammad (salla allahu alayhi wa sallam). Also, expose yourself to the fragrant breezes of the Prophets, Awliya, and Martyrs by visiting their graves and making du'aa for them, and Allah will return your du'aa with something better because of them.

18. It is highly recommended that every one of these nights be preceded by a fast which you break with a vegetarian meal (no meat!), such as dates and fruit. This is the more beneficial according to experience, but not mandatory. If you do not want to fast, then let your food throughout the day be vegetarian, in a small amount in the beginning of the day, and avoid eating or drinking in the end of the day. But if you are fasting, let your futur (breaking) be in a small amount with vegetables and fruits, and there is no blame if you begin your fast (suhoor) with any food you wish. This is so that you fulfill the right of this night, and that you obtain as much as possible the Divine grants which accompany these special nights. Because those who begin their night by filling their bellies with meats and savory foods, that would stop them from arriving, because more often than not they would fall asleep anyway! "

19. Allah might unveil your insight (basira) and complete your ascension and perception, or you might feel this in an awake conscious state, and then He might for a certain time be veiled from you, so that you increase your himma and zeal and jihad, and you arrive completely after difficult trials which come with much dhikr of your Lord. And We will surely try you with something of fear and hunger, and decrease in wealth, persons, or fruits, but give glad tidings to the steadfast/patient. Those who, when a trial besets them, say: We are for Allah, and to Him do we return. Upon such will be benedictions from their Lord, and mercy, and these are the truly guided! (Q2:155-157). These difficulties carry away your sins, and purify you so that you be prepared for arrival.20. If you ask Allah for something or you pray the Prayer of Need, then increase the chances of receiving that by giving away in charity, to an orphan or needy, for that is a cleansing for you which aids in the Divine Answer. If you seek to commune with the Messenger, then bring before your communion with him some charity, for that is better for you and more pure (Q58:12). So what if you seek to commune with Allah the Lord of the Messenger! Similarly, if your aspiration weakens, or you sense some misdeed from you, then quickly go to purifying yourself with fasting and charity. Take from their wealth charity (sadaqa) which will purify and cleanse them, and send blessings upon them, for your blessings are a means of stillness and stability for them (Q9:103).

21. Laylatul-Qadr will be taken away from you if you seek for a worldly thing. Your desire could be fulfilled, but you will be veiled from arrival, which is equivalent to (or is in the place of) taking back your Jannat which your father Adam was expelled from because of his rebellion. You will regain it through your sincere obedience for the Face of Allah, free from the shirk of love of status, or the shirk of obtaining some recompense for your deeds, and so on. Any of these forms of shirk will veil you from arrival (to the Truth). "

22. For that reason Laylatul-Qadr, which you prepared for through intense devotion and fasting from rebellion all your life, is better than the life of your father Adam after his being expelled from the Garden, and better than any life that did not retrieve the lost Firdaws! The Night of Power is better than 1000 months. In it do the angels and the Spirit descend with the permission of their Lord, from every command. Peace it is, until the coming of dawn!

23. Every human has a potential for Laylatul-Qadr, as long as he prepares for it with serious deeds which take one to it, and Allah would not lose your faith (Q2:143). Indeed, the Hour is coming, and I am hiding it, so that every soul be rewarded according to its striving (Q20:15). Therefore, it is not specific to a group of people instead of another, nor a certain race over another. Rather, it is for every Salih in the community of Islam. For all those who do good, there will be good and an increase above that, and their faces will not suffer humiliation (Q10:26). The most noble of you is the most God-wary of you (Q49:13). Everyone, according to the degree of his/her action and sincerity, takes from the Grants of His Lord, and His Bestowals and Bounties, and the grants of your Lord never end! (Q17:20)

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